Shakespeare's Sonnets: The other two, slight air and purging fire
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS (London: G. Eld for T. T. and sold by William Aspley, 1609): d2r.
2Are both with thee, where ever I abide;
3The first my thought, the other my desire,
4These present-absent with swift motion slide.
5For when these quicker elements are gone
6In tender embassy of love to thee,
13 This told, I joy, but then no longer glad,
14 I send them back again and straight grow sad.
1] The four elements are earth and water (treated in the previous sonnet), and air and fire, which correspond to the "humours" of mankind, respectively, melancholic and phlegmatic, and sanguine and choleric. Back to Line
7] two] earth (melancholy) and water (tears; cf. 44.14). Back to Line
8] melancholy] presumably elided. Back to Line
9] life's] liues Q. composition] composed of the quantities of the four humours. recured] healed, restored. Back to Line
10] messengers] air and fire. Back to Line
11] ev'n] euen Q. Back to Line
12] their] sometimes emended to "thy," but the apparent referent, "messengers" (line 10), makes sense: the sonnet is about Shakespeare's health, not that of the beloved. Back to Line
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